Forty female athletes wrote a letter to the House of Representatives denouncing H.R. 734, otherwise known as the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act. The law, introduced on Feb. 1 by Florida Rep. Greg Steube, would ban transgender individuals—that is, biological males—from participating in women’s sports.
The bill’s summary reads:
“This bill generally prohibits school athletic programs from allowing individuals whose biological sex at birth was male to participate in programs that are for women or girls.
Specifically, the bill provides that it is a violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 for federally funded education programs or activities to operate, sponsor, or facilitate athletic programs or activities that allow individuals of the male sex to participate in programs or activities that are designated for women or girls. (Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs or activities.) Under the bill, sex is based on an individual’s reproductive biology and genetics at birth.
The bill does not prohibit male individuals from training or practicing with programs or activities for women or girls as long as such training or practice does not deprive any female of corresponding opportunities or benefits.”
In other words, H.R. 734 would use Title IX to crack down on the transgender agenda. This is more than a little ironic in light of the fact that this civil rights law has been a powerful weapon in the left’s arsenal. Ever since the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 mandated that any institution receiving federal funds must comply with civil rights law in all of its operations, many aspects of public life—including sports—have been tainted by wokeness. Ronald Reagan, who was president at the time, actually vetoed the act (though his veto was overridden) and said it would threaten religious freedom and “would vastly and unjustifiably expand the power of the federal government over the decisions and affairs of private organizations.” And it seems he wasn’t wrong.
Barring biological males from participating in women’s sports sounds commonsensical to me. Sports are separated by sex for a reason: Men are, on average, capable of a higher level of athleticism than women. But as I’ve argued elsewhere, the differences between men and women—which, of course, include far more than athletics—are a good thing.
Still, it seems that a number of prominent female athletes disagree. Among the letter’s co-signers is Megan Rapinoe, the lesbian soccer player who infamously knelt during the national anthem in 2016 in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. It seems her female advocacy includes those with Y chromosomes so long as they choose to identify as women.
The letter summarizes its signers’ problems with H.R. 734:
“Right now, transgender and intersex human rights are under attack, with politicians in Washington D.C. pushing forward H.R. 734, the so-called ‘Protection of Girls and Women in Sports Act’, which would stipulate that Title IX compliance requires banning transgender and intersex girls and women from participating in sports. If this bill passes, transgender and intersex girls and women throughout the country will be forced to sit on the sidelines, away from their peers and their communities. Furthermore, the policing of who can and cannot play school sports will very likely lead to the policing of the bodies of all girls, including cisgender girls. This will deter girls from participating in sports and create additional barriers. Denying children access to a place where they can gain significant mental and physical health benefits, and learn lifelong lessons that come from being part of a team and working hard towards your goals does not protect women in sports.”
The letter continues:
“We believe that gender equity in sport is critical, which is why we urge policymakers to turn their attention and effort to the causes women athletes have been fighting for decades, including equal pay, an end to abuse and mistreatment, uneven implementation of Title IX, and a lack of access and equity for girls of color and girls with disabilities, to name only a few.”
Of course, no woke call to action would be complete without referencing other imaginary problems, like a grand, racist conspiracy against “girls of color.”
One might wonder why female athletes would support biological men, who have a clear physical advantage, competing in women’s sports. There are likely many reasons which vary from person to person. But we cannot ignore that wokeness is a package, one which we’re forced to accept in totality or get kicked out of the club.
Just look at J.K. Rowling. The once-beloved creator of the Harry Potter franchise has been under constant attack from the woke left in recent years. Why? Because despite her agreement with the left on most other issues, she refuses to accept that men can become women. For this offense, she has been labeled a TERF: trans-exclusionary radical feminist. On some level, the term strikes me as accurate; but when applied by the left, it designates its target as an enemy.
The demand from the left is clear: You must believe everything we say or suffer the consequences. How many of these female athletes who signed the letter would otherwise have spoken out, especially in support of men being able to join their teams? Certainly, some might have, and others undoubtedly have left-leaning views on many issues, but the expectation that everyone must parrot every left-wing talking point demonstrates the state of our cultural and political landscape.
Despite the hostility around this issue, female athletes such as swimmer Riley Gaines have been speaking out against this, and they’ve received violent backlash as a result. However, it is only when those of us who can see the obvious—that biological women should have their own sports teams—bravely speak the truth that the insanity can end.
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